The National Retail Federation (NRF) is advocating for retail workers to be included among the early recipient groups for the COVID-19 vaccine. Amazon has made a similar request, though the company specifically focused on its own frontline workers at its warehouses, data centers and Whole Foods locations, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Both organizations submitted letters to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the CDC. The NRF noted that the retail industry directly employs 32 million people and that vaccination would help keep them and the people they serve safe. The full NRF letter can be seen here.
“Retailers have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic protecting associates, serving customers and keeping the communities in which they live and work safe and healthy,” said Matthew Shay, President and CEO of the NRF in a statement. “The industry invested billions of dollars to provide protective gear and training for their associates and to make the necessary changes to achieve and exceed health and safety recommendations made in municipal, state and federal guidelines.”
Amazon’s request focused on the fact that the ecommerce giant has played a large role in helping its customers shelter throughout the pandemic. The retailer also noted that it is the second-largest employer in the country behind Walmart.
“We are proud of the role that our essential employees have played this year to help our customers stay safe and receive important products at their home,” wrote Dave Clark, SVP of Worldwide Operations in the letter, which was seen by The Wall Street Journal. “We request that [the CDC panel] continue to prioritize these essential workers who cannot work from home.”